Characters: Leonard/Penny, Sheldon/Amy
Word Count: 1038
Author's Note: I could blame the plot bunnies, but I think it was some amalgamation of tumblr images flying by at high speeds that gave me this one. That happens sometimes you know.
Disclaimer: The Big Bang Theory is an American sitcom created by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady, and is produced by them along with Steve Molaro. It is a Warner Brothers production and airs on CBS. All characters, plots and creative elements derived from the source material belong exclusively to their respective owners. I, the author of the fan fiction, do not, in any way, profit monetarily from the story.
He walks through the door of the apartment and doesn't even bother flicking the light on. He's home late, much later than normal. He glances at the microwave and it's already after 8:00, and the one benefit of it is that he didn't have to take Sheldon home. Even so, he couldn't enjoy the silent ride home because he was too... annoyed.
The Optics Department at the University had its site visit from the National Science Foundation today, and Leonard is one of the principal investigators on a mid-sized grant. His participation was mandatory. It should have gone smoothly, the visit, but of course one of the graduate students fucked up the calibrations on the lasers last week (setting all of their work back several days), but guess who caught hell for it? In the end, it wasn't a big deal, really, but it did nothing for his mood. He hates having to apologize and explain himself and plead for understanding. He hates being that guy. He wants to be the department darling just once.
He tried calling Penny at lunchtime (he just wanted to hear her voice) but it went straight to voicemail. He didn't know what to make of it, and it crossed his mind that she was ignoring his phone calls. Then, because he's Leonard, he decided to call his mom, just to, you know, make sure she was still alive. He hadn't heard from her in a couple months. She loaded him up with insults and put-downs that should last until their next conversation, and then cut him off to inform him that she was on her way to have lunch with his father; they would be renegotiating some of the finer points of the divorce settlement. They've been "negotiating" the divorce settlement for close to three years. He knows that if his mother wanted to end it, she could have long ago. She's not fooling anybody: she's still in love with Leonard's dad. Ironically, the divorce is the only thing that's keeping them together, the last vestige of their relationship. She's not quite ready to let it go. It makes Leonard kind of sad to think about.
Now back in the apartment, he drops into the armchair. He hates being this grumpy, but he can't help it. The truth of the matter is… he misses Penny. She's in Nebraska visiting her dad. Apparently he had a toe surgery (he has some kind of chronic hangnail) and she supposedly went to go and nurse him back to health, but Leonard's pretty sure it was just an excuse to see him. She had invited Leonard to go with her for the first time—Leonard had bought the tickets and everything—but he had to cancel at the last minute for work.
He wanted to go. He misses here. He's grumpy.
Plus he's hungry. Ravenous, really. Too hungry to wait for delivery and too hungry to cook anything and too hungry to drive anywhere to get something. He opens the refrigerator door, and the prospect of food is making him excited and furious at the same time. There's an unopened jar of apple sauce on the bottom shelf. He cracks it open then he just eats directly out of the jar with a spork he finds in the junk drawer. It'll tide him over until he makes a decision about a real meal later. Maybe.
Applesauce in hand, he takes a few steps into the living room, then glances at the TV. Tonight is not a night for a Downton Abbey re-watch with "the Shamy" or a game of Wii Bowling. He wants to steal. He wants to maim. He wants to draw blood. He heads back to Sheldon's room to see if he's up for a game of Halo or Call of Duty or (better yet) Assassin's Creed. He goes to knock on the door but then doesn't. He can hear Sheldon inside, talking on the phone.
"But to add insult to injury, Amy," he's saying, his voice pitchy and frantic, "Dr. Hughes had the audacity to assert the infuriating notion that I had—"
Sounds like his day wasn't much better than Leonard's. Unlike Leonard, though, he has a girlfriend to bitch to. Leonard keeps walking to his room and shuts the door behind him.
He gets on the bed, leans back against the headboard and continues to shovel applesauce in his mouth (which is starting to taste gross). He sets the jar on the nightstand and that's when he sees it: Penny's charger. He lifts the baby blue-colored cable and turns it over in his hand. This is why her phone is dead. She's left her charger behind. On one hand it makes him feel better; she isn't ignoring him. Still, if she doesn't have a charger, he might not hear from her until she gets back a week from now. The thought of it makes him turn around, face-down, into his pillow and yanks the covers over his head.
Then his phone rings. Without looking up he reaches down into his pocket and pulls it out. Glowing underneath the sheets he sees a number he doesn't recognize: 555-345-0927. He decides to answer it anyway.
"Hello," he croaks.
"Hey, Penny," he says. He's embarrassed at how bright he's smiling. He turns over in bed, pulling the covers down from his head. "I was waiting to hear from you."
"Yeah, I left my charger somewhere. I think in the airport."
"No you left it here in my apartment. I just found it a couple minutes ago."
"Seriously?!" she says, relief in her voice. "Man, I didn't know where it was. I had to log into my email account to find your number then ask to borrow my Dad's phone."
"You don't know my number by heart?" he asks.
"Um, no," she says. "Who memorizes numbers anymore?"
Leonard does. He knows Penny's by heart: 555-748-7349. "Nobody," he replies.
"So," she says, "How was your day?"
It sucked so hard, he thinks. It sucked because you aren't here. "It started off kind of rough," he answers finally. "But it ended alright."
"Good," Penny says, and she sighs a contented little sigh. "Good."
Endnote: Thanks for reading!